Girls Basketball: Sacred Heart Cathedral’s defense stifles St. Ignatius

A pair of Sacred Heart Cathedral trap St. Ignatius sophomore forward Erin Hanley on Tuesday at the University of San Francisco. (Photo by Doug Ko)

A pair of Sacred Heart Cathedral trap St. Ignatius sophomore forward Erin Hanley on Tuesday at the University of San Francisco. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By John Baker

The St. Ignatius girls basketball team probably thought there wasn’t much more pressure than playing against its rival in a full-to-the-rafters college gymnasium.

Then it ran into Sacred Heart Cathedral’s defensive scheme.

The Irish stifled St. Ignatius’ shooting and beat the Wildcats 46-41 on Tuesday night in a West Catholic Athletic League matchup at the University of San Francisco.

Sacred Heart Cathedral sophomore center Ashanti Coleman (right) makes a block on Tuesday at the University of San Francisco. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Sacred Heart Cathedral sophomore center Ashanti Coleman (right) makes a block on Tuesday at the University of San Francisco. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“The atmosphere was pretty intense,” said Sacred Heart junior guard GeAnna Summers-Luaulu, the game’s leading scorer with 15 points. “We were nervous, but it was just another game, just in a different gym. We knew [to] just stay calm and it would be a lot of fun.”

It probably didn’t actually feel like fun for Sacred Heart Cathedral until the fourth quarter, when its defensive pressure limited the Wildcats to only six points and one field goal. In fact, the game didn’t start out amusing at all for the Irish.

After Sacred Heart (10-2, 3-0) scored the first points of the game just 53 seconds in, St. Ignatius went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes, but the Irish came back with their own 9-0 run to get within two points after a quarter.

“Our nerves started to catch up to us, but coach told us to calm down [and] play with heart again, and it was all good,” Summers-Luaulu said.

How good? The Irish went on a 12-3 run to start the second quarter on the strength of their defense. Unable to penetrate, St. Ignatius (10-3, 0-2) made just 2-of-14 shots from the floor in the frame.

“Once we settled down, we were able to get set, come out and execute our game plan,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach LyRyan Russell. “It’s about having other teams play against constant pressure. The more they can play under pressure, the better.”

It was the second straight game that St. Ignatius wilted in the second quarter, after being outscored 25-6 in the same frame against Mitty last week.

“We didn’t set good screens, we didn’t come hard enough to the ball and we didn’t make good decisions,” said St. Ignatius head coach Michael Mulkerrins. “We had an uphill battle after halftime because we had a horrendous second quarter.”

St. Ignatius did mount a comeback in the third quarter and even took a brief lead on a layup by sophomore forward Erin Hanley with 1:24 left, but the Irish regrouped. The teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 35-35, and the Irish defense took it from there – this time limiting the Wildcats to a 1-for-12 shooting mark in final 8 minutes.

“I think overall, there’s no doubt they’re playing hard, but they’re not making the right reads on offense,” Mulkerrins said. “To be honest, you can pat Mitty on the back, you can pat Sacred Heart on the back. They’re good programs. However, we beat [ourselves] in both games.”

Highlighting the St. Ignatius offensive difficulties, Brianna Beckman, who led the Wildcats with nine points, was held scoreless after the halftime break once defensive attention was shifted to her. No St. Ignatius player had more than three field goals.

But there will be no resting on laurels for the Irish. With games against St. Francis and Valley Christian later this week, Russell joked he would let his team celebrate only until they got on the bus.

“They handled their business tonight,” Russell said. “Now we’ve got to get ready for two tough opponents this week. So enjoy it right now, but once we get out of here, we’ve got to get ready for our next two games.”

Scoring Leaders

Sacred Heart Cathedral
GeAnna Summers-Luaulu – 15
Juliet Courtney – 6
Jerrieza Enriquez – 6
Briannah Smith – 6
Ashanti Coleman – 5

St. Ignatius
Brianna Beckman – 9
Erin Hanley – 8
Tatiana Ranis – 6
Crystal Sun – 6
Sydney Raggio – 4

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  1. Paulshmidt says:

    Irish needed that redemption everyone thought they couldn’t pull this win off thanks to summers,smith,and Coleman they shut SI down.Coleman was their initial rebounder,blocker,and scored around 6 points. Summers and smith cut into gaps creating the body contact to draw the fouls. Coleman is only a sophmore we have something to look forward to in future she is tall and can run the floor with the guards.

  2. LBishere says:

    great win irish! them girls played their heart s out, they came hard and was ready to play,LET’S GO IRISH!!

  3. Ruckjames says:

    The supposedly shooters of SI never showed up or the defense is just that
    good that they never had good looks. Summers torched SI with 15 pts making key
    shots towards the end. Coach Russell in his first year is doing a great job motivating his supposedly
    inferior line up compared to SI’s.

  4. Uncle Frank says:

    Some thoughts:
    The three guards for SH just killed SI athletically. They all are too fast and quick (not the same thing) for the SI primary ball handlers.

    SI is going to miss Josie Little (may not coming back this year) and they really missed Paige Marquez last night who is still out with an ankle injury.

    What a horribly reffed game. Starts out with more contact allowed than most football games, then we get touch fouls off the ball, and then finally in the 4th Q, an all-out dogpile on the floor scrambling for a loose ball. It got really rough, which will happen when girls get mugged and lose the ball with no foul called. It teaches them to go mug someone back because it won’t get called. The guy behind me thought SH got away with too much contact. I am obviously an SI guy, but I thought it was SI’s girls who had the lion’s share of the maulings out there. Whichever team in favored it led to some bad basketball. I’d love to see the list of turnovers because it seemed like 25% of possessions 9at least) ended in turnovers.

    Summers-Luaulu is a very good player and has been since her freshmen year. Si has no real answer for her combination of basketball skills, size and athleticism. I think she is probably the second best in the league. Too bad she will be playing against Kelli Hayes all four years. Having said that, SI’s Tatiana Ranis did a good D job on her for most of the game.

    These two teams will be dueling for second all year. The rest of the league seems down this year with the possible exception of St. Francis. I don’t see Mitty losing in league, so if SI beats SH in the rematch then those three might just finish at: Mitty 12-0, SI 9-3 and SH 9-3. Might that all get them in the Open Division for CCS? I don’t really understand how that works.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Uncle Frank, Mitty is just a machine. Year after year they will reload. So it was quite accomplishment during the prime SH years to go toe to toe with them. I thought SI matched up very well with them last year. All games being fairly close but in the end too much Kellie Hayes, not enough Maria. I guess the only solace I have is knowing this Open Division format this year so Mitty may not have that easy path to a championship anymore. They’ll have to play the best every round.

  5. JJ says:

    There was no flow to this game because the refs blew their whistles every 15 seconds. If the refs weren’t calling travels or fouls, both teams either threw the ball out of bounds or took ill-advised shots. Summers-Lualuu was the best player on the floor. Unless, Little comes back at 100%, it will take almost a miracle for both teams to beat Mitty.

  6. Ari Gold says:

    Last year the girls POY was clear cut. MKM had no equal. Take note Balan that Geanna was always under the radar behind MKM but this year shes shown thus far to be the best city player, and also one of the top 5 league players.

    The women’s hoops engine keeps on hummin’. SI’s recent women’s “success” was just a blip on the radar. Do it for over a decade and I’ll be impressed.

    • Uncle Frank says:

      “Do it over a decade and I’ll be impressed.”

      SI Girls in the last nine years: Three CCCS championships and six runner-ups. And, half those runners up finishes were against that legendary SH team with Tierra Rogers and Jazmine Jackson and one runner up was to last year’s Mitty team that won state. Going back further to 1996, five CCS titles and 10 runners up in 17 years.

      No blip.

      Better stats over longer time: Mitty girls. CCS champs 23 of 28 years. Mostly D1 or D2, but a couple of early years in D3 and D4. In all 5 non winning years, they were 2nd place. Once to SI i(’02).

      SH Girls: Their real run of success starts in 2000. Before that the best they did was to lose in semis. However, over a shorter time they have had more success. Since 2000, they have 12 CCS titles and one semi loss (to SI).

      There are no blips. These are 3 top notch programs with Mitty being the real monster among them.

      • Ari Gold says:

        No argument that SI’s women’s basketball program has been successful since they became co-ed in 1989. Im defining success by titles, not winning %. By your stats since 2000 for SHC 12 CCS titles and only 3 for SI (5 since 1996), SI are dwarfs compared to SH. Yes yes, runners ups 10 times I guess means something but no one remembers the first loser.

        Even after the Harrigan era when some may have predicted a decline at SHC, they won 2 CCS titles. And Coach Carey was run out!!!

      • WCAL Alum says:

        Uncle Frank.
        Not to belittle your points (very good), didnt SHC girls win their first State title in 1998?

      • Ari Gold says:

        Before 2010, I used to date an A’s fan. I loathed the times they would ridicule my Giants “Oh how many World Series trophies do the Giants have?” Well, theres another empty chamber in the A’s gun. When we tie them with 4, they’ll have nothing to say. Oh heck, the A’s hopefully will be contracted or move away.

        So to add onto WCAL Alum’s comment, how many State Championship trophies do the SI women’s hoops team have? We got 4. Plus a National Championship. Thats really cute that you guys 10 2nd place CCS trophies.

        • Uncle Frank says:

          I was only looking up CCS stuff because it is easy to find. Couldn’t find a decent quick listing for state champions. My research showed they didn’t win CCS until 2000. I could have made a mistake. Looked it up on a break from work.

          I agree that one era at SH gave them a lot of big titles. However, I wasn’t comparing SI to the other two teams. I just wanted to show that all 3 teams, including SI, have illustrious records that their respective schools can be proud of. My point was that I thought Ari’s “blip” comment was a little facetious and could be perceived as disrespectful of SI’s girls program. SI has had a fine program, but obviously doesn’t not have the CCS or state titles to compete with SH or Mitty. I didn’t argue that they did. No rational person would. :)

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